Turns out One Direction might be bigger than anyone thought -- that according to Stephen Hawking, of all people.
"What do you think is the cosmological effect," the scientist was asked Sunday night, "of Zayn [Malik] leaving One Direction and consequently breaking the hearts of millions of teenage girls across the world?"
Good thing the 73-year-old mathematician and physicist is, of course, no stranger to pop culture. And pop culture is no stranger to him, especially after "The Theory of Everything" told his story to the world -- and earned Eddie Redmayne an Oscar.
"Finally, a question about something important," Hawking told the audience at the Sydney Opera House in Australia, getting a huge laugh while speaking through the familiar computerized voice system that allows him to communicate despite the debilitating effects of ALS.
He was appearing Sunday as part of Ideas at the House, the Aussie venue's public lecture series, which is probably not the first place a person would go to find out the ramifications of Malik's March departure from the hugely popular British boy band.
"My advice to any heartbroken young girl is to pay close attention to the study of theoretical physics"" -- now that's not something you hear every day -- "because one day there may well be proof of multiple universes."
Wait, weren't we talking about One Direction? Not multiple universes? Directioners should care about this why?
"It would not ...," Hawking said, "be beyond the realms of possibility that somewhere outside of our own universe lies another different universe, and in that universe Zayn is still in One Direction."
Ohthankgoodness. And in that universe, might he still have all of his hair? Too bad nobody asked that follow-up question.
But wait! It gets better! If, um, you happen to be a young woman.
"The girl may like to know that in another possible universe, she and Zayn are happily married," Hawking told the audience.
Looks as if science is a pretty cool direction to head in after all.